Chelsea defender David Luiz has revealed the role Didier Drogba played in helping him make it onto the field for the 2012 Champions League final - but insists that he won't be looking to do the Ivorian any favours when they go head to head tonight.
Drogba will line up for Galatasary when they take on Chelsea in the first leg of their last 16 Champions League tie in Istanbul this evening.
The 35-year-old established himself as a club legend during his eight years at Stamford Bridge, and scored the winning penalty for Chelsea in their Champions League final shoot-out against Bayern Munich two years ago.
That proved to be his last kick for the Blues before he departed for a short stint in China with Shanghai Shenhua.
Now with Galatasaray, the striker will come up against his former team-mates for the first time at the Türk Telekom Arena this evening.
Ahead of the game Luiz has revealed the debt he owes to Drogba for helping him make it onto the pitch for the Champions League final.
The Brazilian hadn't played for five weeks leading up to the game because of a hamstring injury picked up in the FA Cup semi-final, but was required to step up with John Terry Branislav Ivanovic suspended.
He recovered in time to play the full 120 minutes at the Allianz Arena - but only with the help of his talismanic former team-mate.
"I remember before the final I had a big, big injury and had not played (for five weeks)," the 26-year-old told the Daily Mail.
"I spoke to him about it a lot. On the day before we sat for a couple of hours and he told me I needed to believe.
"He said “come on, man, you need to believe. Tomorrow can be a great day. You might go to the pitch with one leg but you can run like you have four or five because this is your dream. It is my dream as well – let’s do it”.
"He helped me a lot and I will never forget what he did for me and Chelsea."
With Jose Mourinho back at the helm at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea will be confident of making it to the latter stages of the Champions League this season - even if it does mean European heartbreak for one of their all-time greats.
Luiz continued: "I respect this guy so much. He is a fantastic striker, a fantastic person and a leader.
"He is a great friend of mine but he cannot have the same luck as two years ago.
"He was fantastic for us and won us the cup.
"But it cannot be his day this time. It is difficult to keep Didier quiet but I hope it will be my and Chelsea’s day."
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